Stress affects even the most laid back among us. And on Stress Awareness Day, it is worth remembering that stress can lead to a host of mental and physical illness, including depression and heart disease, if not dealt with.
If you're feeling stressed, these are GQ Middle East's go to stress relievers for both short and long term relief.
One Minute Stress Relief: Stretch At Your desk
Not everyone has the time to go to the gym or to yoga class, before, after or during a busy working day. That doesn’t mean that you can’t physically work your body to some degree.
Doing burpees at your desk probably isn't possible and is defintely not advised but a series of stretching exercises are an easy way to keep the blood circulating and relieve stress.
Stand up. Squeeze your bum and focus on standing up straight. Push your hands into the air. Sit down again and twist your neck from side to side, and then relax. Tense your shoulders and back muscles for several seconds, then relax again. Squeeze your hands into fists and open them. Do the same with your feet. Take a deep breath and get back to work.
Five Minute Stress Relief: Breathe Between Meetings
Short term stress relief is possible. It’s a busy day at work, your schedule is rammed and you feel like the walls are closing in. You can start to combat this with a few simple breathing exercises.
Remember: For a breath to be deep, it needs to start from deep in your body. Begin by taking a deep breath into your belly. Concentrate on pushing your stomach out as you breathe in, and then focus on filling your chest afterwards. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold it for 7 and exhale for 8, then repeat this 4 times. There's no need to repeat a mantra or stand on one leg; simply focusing on the act of breathing will slow your heart rate and calm you down.
It might only be stop-gap but you’ll be able to face the rest of the day with a better sense of wellbeing.
One Hour Stress Relief: Work Out
Exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress. Sure, it won't pay your credit card bill or fill out your tax return, but it will quiet your mind, making it easier to do those things on your own. Exercising before heading off to work will kick-start your metabolism for the rest of the day. A trip to the gym after leaving the office may be even more beneficial and will fight the stress accumulated over the course of a hectic day.
The recommended time is at least 30 minutes a session, but even a brisk outside walk will have huge benefits.
A good sweat and release of endorphins will make sure you don’t go home, and eventually to bed, with a negative frame of mind.
Weekend Stress Relief: See Your Friends
Don’t bottle things up. One of the quickest ways to relive stress is to get something that’s bothering you off your chest. Studies have shown that people with more friends tend to suffer less anxiety than ones with fewer social connections.
Spending an evening with friends is an excellent way of gaining perspective on, and temporarily forgetting about, what's stressing you out. It's beneficial in many ways, and even the simple act laughing will ensure less mental stress and relaxation of muscles.
Long Term Stress Relief: Reduce Caffeine, Smoking And Alcohol
This stress relief technique hardly need an explanation but it's remarkable how often people think indulging in these vices actually helps them reduce stress. They don’t.
In reality, such social pastimes inevitably turn into addictions which translate into health problems and long-term diseases. Giving up your vices will certainly take a concerted lifsetyle change. Probably the hardest of all stress-relieving steps on this list, this will take self-control and resilience, but on the up side, you could see an improvement in your miodd and well-being within days.
Stress Relief To Live By: Relaxation, Meditation and Yoga
Everyone will have their own way of relaxing or reducing tension. It could be as simple as going for a walk or reading a book. Some of them we've tocuhed upon in this article. Then there are deliberate activities like meditation and yoga, which look to get your mental and physical well-being in synch. The key of course is consistency. Some form of physical activity should be as immovable in your routine as brushing your teeth or taking a shower. It might be a slog at first, but once they become routine, you'll see and feel the benefits.